After winning the IU Invitational its last tournament, the IU women’s golf team looks to carry the momentum from that victory into its tournament this weekend.
The Hoosiers begin play at the Lady Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday less than a week after their first team win of the season. IU is one of eight Big Ten teams, along with Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers and host Ohio State, in the 12-team field.
The tournament will be played throughout two days with 36 holes being played Saturday and the final 18 holes Sunday.
IU is coming off its best tournament of the season with four players finishing in the top 10 and all five finishing in the top 20. IU Coach Clint Wallman said the team’s strong play last weekend has the players feeling confident as they head to Ohio.
“They played exceptionally well on a very difficult golf course, and I think not having a break and just rolling right into Ohio State is a really good thing for us,” Wallman said. “I’m tickled with the play of the team and the direction that they’re going.”
Last season, IU had success at Ohio State. The team finished tied for second and former Hoosier Camille Chevalier won the individual tournament. Sophomore Erin Harper, senior Ana Sanjuan and junior Alix Kong all placed in the top 20 as well.
Harper finished fourth in the individual standings at IU last weekend, and she has had success on the Ohio State course in the past. Along with her top-10 finish last season, Harper said she has also won an American Junior Golf Association tournament on the Ohio State course.
Harper said her familiarity with the course and her recent string of strong performances have her feeling confident before the tournament.
“My ball striking has been good, and you need to hit the fairways at OSU to be able to attack the pins so I have a good feeling about it,” Harper said.
After a hot start to the season with three top-10 finishes in her first five tournaments, Sanjuan has cooled off recently and hasn’t finished inside the top 10 since February. However, Wallman said he thinks she has put in the work in recent weeks to get back to playing her best golf.
Wallman said Sanjuan has been strong mentally lately and her success this weekend will come down to how well she does with her ball striking.
Freshman Emma Fisher has played her way into the IU lineup and set career bests at the IU Invitational by finishing tied for eighth place with a score of 225(+9). Fisher said she knows she can play even better.
“There are definitely some things that I can work on that I have learned from past play, like different shots,” Fisher said. “Obviously there is always room for improvement so I’m going to keep working every day at it but right now I feel like I have put myself in a really good position.”
With the Big Ten Women’s Golf Championship starting April 21, IU will have a chance to see where they stand against the other seven Big Ten schools in the field when play begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
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